Citizen Scientists Discover Thirty New Species in their Own Back Yards

Main report: Citizen Science Helps Discover Thirty New Species Where You Would Least Expect It
(Discover Magazine)
Other Reporting: Science, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post
Scientific Paper: Zootaxa   
New Taxa: Phoridae
Species named for: volunteers who found the species in their own yards
Categories: Citizen Science | Insects | New Species

A recent study has revealed thirty species that are new to science living in the bustling city of Los Angeles.  The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County initiated a project called BioSCAN to search for biodiversity, engaging citizen scientists to search for species in their own backyards.  Each species of the new species discovered has been named in honor of the volunteers who hosted the BioSCAN collections in their yards.  The flies are all members of the phorid family, and were captured in 30 insect traps set up in the
backyards of homeowners around the city. Phorid flies are a little smaller than the fruit flies.

The fauna of cities remains poorly understood. This gives ample opportunity for the next generation of scientists and citizen scientists to uncover more unknown species, describe their life histories, observe new behaviors, and teach us all how these enigmatic creatures impact the urban ecosystem and affect our lives.​

30 New fly species discovered by the citiens c0ience project BioSCAN (Image Credit: Kelsey Bailey/Emily Hartop)

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